BC Hydro and the K’ómoks First Nation have signed an impact benefit agreement for the proposed John Hart Generating Station Replacement project.
The agreement will provide the K’ómoks First Nation with a number of benefits, including training and education funds and economic development opportunities related to the construction of the project. The K’ómoks’ asserted traditional territory includes the project area. BC Hydro has been consulting with K’ómoks on the project since 2007.
The John Hart Generating Station has provided clean, reliable power for more than 65 years and BC Hydro is making a major investment of up to $1.2 billion in the facility to ensure it continues to deliver value for years to come.
“K’ómoks is pleased to have concluded these negotiations with BC Hydro,” said K’ómoks spokesperson Melissa Quocksister. “As we move towards a treaty, we will be working towards more agreements that will support the future of our nation and the Comox Valley. We are also very appreciative of Don McRae, MLA, for helping the parties reach an agreement.”
“This agreement not only benefits the K’ómoks First Nation, but also sets a positive economic example for the Comox Valley community,” responded McRae.
The John Hart facility has been operating since 1947. There are three key reasons why BC Hydro is proposing a replacement:
• Safety. The generating station and pipelines may not withstand a low to moderate earthquake;
• Reliability. The six generating units are in poor condition and their capacity is declining;
• Environment. The environmental risk of a generating station shutdown and river flow reduction, with subsequent impacts to fish habitat.
The proposed project is to construct a replacement water intake at the John Hart Spillway Dam, replace the three 1.8-kilometre-long pipelines with a 2.1-km tunnel, construct a replacement generating station beside the existing station, and a new water bypass facility. The existing station may continue to operate during the construction phase, and then transfer operations during the commissioning period to the new facility.
BC Hydro is working towards receiving all project regulatory approvals by spring 2013 and beginning construction in summer 2013.
— BC Hydro